American churches receive record $114.9-B donations in 2014 — report

A man collects money from donations in a Detroit church in this file photo.Reuters

Americans donated record-breaking amount of funds to churches and religious groups last year, a report from Giving USA Foundation has revealed.

The donations the religious institutions received constituted a third of all the financial donations Americans gave to charity in 2014, the foundation said.

In a report released on its website, the foundation said a total of $114.9 billion worth of charitable donations went straight to recipients that are religious in nature—an all-time high in 60 years.

"2014 giving increased 2.5 percent in current dollars, and a modest 0.9 percent when adjusted for inflation," Giving USA stated in a press release issued last week.

Christianity Today said the amount included over $11 billion donated to Southern Baptist churches, which was three times more than what United Way, the largest charity in America, received last year.

At the same time, a recent poll from Gallup claimed that only 42 percent of Americans said they trusted churches and religious organisations, down from 44 percent in 2012, Christian Headlines reported.

In contrast 72 percent of Americans reported that they trusted the military, 67 percent trusted small businesses and 52 percent trusted the police.

"Organised religion still ranked No. 4 among trusted institutions, performing better than the medical community (37 percent), banks (28 banks), and Congress (8 percent)," Christianity Today noted, citing Gallup's study.

The Gallup poll also noted that more Catholics in the US trust religious institutions this year than in the past, registering 52 percent in 2015 compared to 41 percent in 2001.

Meanwhile, Protestants show a 51 percent trust rating of organised religion this year compared to 57 percent in 2007, the survey showed.

Although Americans may trust the police more than religious institutions, their confidence in law enforcement is actually waning, the Gallup poll said. In the wake of the protests and riots sparked by the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson in Missouri, police received a confidence score of 52 percent, 5 percentage points lower than its average of 57 percent. That was the lowest mark they received since 1993.